Betty Tran Fashion and Consulting | Part 3 of our series on Textile: Manufacturing, Retail & Fashion in Vietnam and S.E. Asia.

Today Granger Whitelaw Interviews Betty Tran, on Part 3 of or series; Textiles: Manufacturing, Retail & Fashion In Vietnam and S.E. Asia. Betty has found Global success and awareness with her Fashion Brand and Is now living In Vietnam again, sharing her expertise with the Community and looking to build more for the Future. Please join us In Listening to the Betty on The Lotus Talks!

Listen and subscribe to our podcast at Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or elsewhere. Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability. Listen to the full episode at the link here:

Granger Whitelaw: Good morning. It’s Granger Whitelaw with the Lotus talks. Today is part three of our series on textile manufacturing, retail, and fashion. So far. We’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Bill Watson at Coats and Carey Zesiger at Ha Vang, two really good interviews. I thought they did a great job. People seemed to be very receptive to them and enjoyed them very much. I’ve had good feedback.

Granger Whitelaw: Today we are lucky enough to have a worldwide-known fashion designer with us. Betty Tran, Betty is a fashion designer, entrepreneur and consultant. I’ll kind of read from a recent article that she was in, to give you some background on her. Betty’s love of fashion came from helping her mother manufacture garments for numerous international Australian fashion labels. Betty’s couture and Pret-a-Porter fashion label, Betty Tran, expanded from Australia to Paris, Los Angeles, New York, and all over the world. In the last 10 years, she’s been a brand ambassador for Redken. She was a winner of the Telstra WA business women’s Awards, young businesswoman of the Year in 2016. And was appointed a fashion ambassador in Vietnam by the Australian Department of foreign affairs in 2017. Two years ago, Betty launched Betty Tran Consultants, a corporate strategy and creative agency specializing in fashion and lifestyle, real estate and technology. And she is currently here in Vietnam. Betty, thanks for calling in today for this remote interview in our Corona time.

Granger Whitelaw: Good morning, Betty.

Betty Tran: Good morning, Granger. Thank you so much for having me today.

Granger Whitelaw: Absolutely. How are things today

Betty Tran: Its been really good, you know, to be here in Vietnam and, we’re very blessed to be here given the current situation we’re facing, you know, and the way that Vietnam is handling the Covid situation. I will say that, you know, we are very blessed to be in this country.

Granger Whitelaw: We are blessed. I love the word blessed. I know that, God is a center of your life, which is a great thing for a business person. And we don’t talk about that much on this show, but it is definitely a part of your, your life and your being every day. Is that correct?

Betty Tran: I think that, you know, religion is something that we hardly like to talk about, but, it is something on a personal level for me is very important, you know, having faith and, being a good human being, you know, so, you know, whatever God means to you, you know, but for me, you know, it truly helped me, you know, making these transitions and become the person I am today. Yeah. Well,

Granger Whitelaw: Yeah, well I think faith is a great way to lead your life in a business and we can learn a lot from faith and bring it into business. So that’s great. I applaud you for that. So we’re doing a three part series on textile, manufacturing, retail, and fashion. In fashion, which is your part, the third part of the series, because it’s really what it’s all about, right? People need clothes and the fashion designers set the trends. They drive the sales in large part, and of course, fashion is ultimately about fun – looking good, being free and creative. So I’m glad to have you help today to tie the series together for our listeners. and can’t wait to hear your views on all of this.

Betty Tran: I look forward to.

Granger Whitelaw: So you’re living here with your fiance, Sean Melville, and your daughter Sophia. what’s it like being back here in Vietnam, having traveled and lived in all these wonderful places around the world?

Betty Tran: Well, you know, Granger, I, I was born in Vietnam and so, in 1987, so I have seen the country had transform, into a very positive direction. I mean, it’s been a long time, you know, coming back, it’s, it’s a strange feeling, but I think, you know, I think that Vietnam is an incredible country, and the human being, the people here are resilient, they’re friendly, the food, supurb and, and you know, and of course fashion.You know, we are the, the fourth largest country of manufacturing, you know, in the world. So, you know, it’s a, it’s a country that had a lot of story to tell and, I’m just really grateful to be back.

Granger Whitelaw: Yeah, it’s amazing. The people in Vietnam, I, I agree with you are amazing people. The culture is fascinating. and for a fashion designer, like you, you must be able to get a lot of clues about, designs and inspiration for your up-coming lines from the Asian cultures, not just Vietnam, but the Southeast Asian cultures, but in Asia in general, right? There’s, there’s so much history. And so many things that you can look at for, for your designs.

Betty Tran: I think as a credit person, you do find inspiration everywhere and, you know, being Asian or Vietnamese particularly is my heritage. It definitely play an important role in influence me in terms of my design and my aesthetic and my DNA in the collection. So I will say that, you know, we are global citizens, but for sure, you know, your background and how you was born, definitely playing a big part in you and, definitely in my work.

Granger Whitelaw: Yeah. And your work is beautiful. I have had the pleasure of being at a fashion show of yours and seeing it up close and – absolutely beautiful your designs are, incredible.

Betty Tran: Thank you, Granger. And I know that your lady, you know, she also owned piece of Betty trend, which made me very pleased.

Granger Whitelaw: Yeah, She does. So what are you up to these days I mean, you have a fashion line, you have a consulting business. I mean, tell me about your listeners about your current plans for, for both of them. This is a business podcast, and I think people would love to hear what’s Betty doing.

Betty Tran: Yeah. I love to share with you, and my journey of being in Vietnam, four years ago, obviously, you know, I was fortunate to have opportunity to showcase my collections in Vietnam, but we have been, you know, I’ve been traveling to Vietnam back and forth quite often for our manufacturing. I mean, I’ve had part of my team is here in Vietnam and, you know, the art, the artisans are incredible here. They’re so talented. And as being Vietnamese, I always only have a passion to promoting, you know, anything to do with Vietnam, from the person who makes the garment, the artisans, the craftsmanship, you know, I would like to bring a part of my DNA and my heritage to the world. So, you know, I think that the only way for me to do it is to come back home and be able to set up a, you know, a team here in Vietnam and be able to create, you know, wonderful couture pieces as well, ready-to-wear and bring it to the world.

Betty Tran: And, I’ve been very fortunate in that sense that, you know, we’ll be able to bring, you know, the brand to over 20 countries around the world, within three years. And, you know, given the situation with Covid right now, obviously, as you know, that, you know, we are not able to fly anywhere. So, you know, I’m, I’m taking a little bit of a break, but, but at the same time I feel that, you know, I always eager to make a difference, I can’t sit still and always find something meaningful to do.

Granger Whitelaw: Yeah, you don’t, you don’t sit still Betty, that’s not part of your DNA, so yeah. You have the artisans here, as you mentioned, and then you talk about couture and, and ready-to-wear. So for listeners who may not know the difference between haute-couture and ready-to-wear, maybe you can just quickly explain that.

Betty Tran: I will say that my line of work is more semi-couture. You will never be able to use the word haute-couture. It is a word that come with a lot of constitutions around it. You know, you have to be a fashion house like Chanel, or Dior, you know, with a number of years of heritage, you have to apply certain techniques, you know, in term of the way you approach the craftsmanship. So, to clarify, you know, we are more like, you know, semi-couture which is, you know, slightly less complicated than a haute-couture because there’s only certain houses in the world that would be certified as haute-couture.

Granger Whitelaw: Okay. And then ready-to-wear is, is what anyone would, would kind of walk into a store at a Zara or some store like that, and they would pull it off the shelf, the rack that’s kind of a ready to wear?

Betty Tran: Yep. That’s pretty much you, you you’ve literally got the concept. So, it’s ready, already made and you can walk in and buy it off the rack. So that’s what it called, ready-to-wear. So

Granger Whitelaw: You’ve really been semi-couture or couture, what have you, but, but you are looking at a ready-to-wear line now?

Betty Tran: You know, we are, you know, the world changing every day and, you know, being an artist, you know, I mean, that’s a lot of work that I’ve been passionate for so many years to bring that craftsmanship in, into the work, but at the core, you got to have to speak to the mass. You have to be able to connect with them on the everyday level. So as a brand, we always thinking of, you know, how can we take our clients on a journey from day to night, you know, effortlessly and without fuss, you know, as you know that women are getting busier, there’s a new, you know, rise of the middle income class, you know, in Vietnam, in particular. And I felt that, you know, being in Vietnam for four years now, I’m at the moment, you know, looking for a partnership and looking for opportunity where we can actually, introduce a new line that is actually appealing to the mass, you know. The middle income class and above. Because I felt that you got to have to be able to speak to them, connect to them and giving them a dressing system that, you know, not giving too much faster than that allow them and empower them to do what they needed to do.

Granger Whitelaw: Yeah. I mean, it’s interesting because, you know, you, we talk about now this ready-to-wear line and as opposed to the couture and the more technical kind of sewing, but, you know, we interviewed Bill Watson from coats, two weeks ago. And he was the first person in the series and Coats makes the thread, right. There are a major player in manufacturing. They, they provide thread to, almost every manufacturer here in Vietnam and most of them around the world. And it’s interesting, I assume that you manufacture in Vietnam, most of your clothing. As a designer, do you ever contact a company like coach directly to get a specific type of thread for your clothes that are unique? Is that something you would do? or do you just go through the manufacturing channels and the supply chains?

Betty Tran: You know, everybody using Coates in one way or another without even realizing it, you know, and, I mean, Bill Watson is a, is a good friend of ours. And, you know, and, what I would say is, you know, we, we have been using Coats, threat for so many years. even when we, our team was in Australia. So, because they are, they have the best quality, you know, qualities, threads, and every designer needs threads. As you know,

Granger Whitelaw: So if you need a specific thread for a unique dress that you’re going to make, right. You, you would contact them and say, Hey, I need a special blend thread. Can you make me this – this way? And, and, and they’ll, they’ll work with you on that?

Betty Tran: Coats have supplies everywhere around the world and they have their representatives. And so we do have, you know, the contacts and of course we, you know, we will order depend on the production. So, yeah, it’s a, it’s something that it part of our, our production.

Granger Whitelaw: Okay. So the manufacturing that happens here in Vietnam is that something that you take advantage of, the skilled labor here and the ability to produce, on the time schedules that you need in the price point you need?

Betty Tran: I think, you know, I mean, Vietnam is an incredible country. I mean, compared to the export turnover of the clothing and textile to Vietnam, as you know, it is 36.16 billion USD industry. And the power of market values in Vietnam is about 257 billion USD. So that just to give you a snapshot of, you know, of, of where Vietnam is at right now, that’s pretty much 6.2% share in the world-wide clothing exports. So, we are just at the right time at the right place. yeah,

Granger Whitelaw: Yeah, it’s amazing the growth here and, it’s the size of the market and the labor they have here. So skilled it’s, it’s, it’s incredible, for a designer to be able to take advantage of that, I think is a, is a neat opportunity. Now you’re mentoring other, designers now as well, right? You’re helping them look at how to scale, how to build a business, how to approach a market?

Betty Tran: This is a passion of mine, Granger is to give back my knowledge. I mean, when I started in 2012, we started with nothing, almost nothing the $2,000 I had. And so it’s been very difficult as a start-up trying to build the business to where it is today. You know, been, been on many long, long hauls with many mistake, with many lessons that I’ve learned. Costly, you know, both financially, emotionally, on many different level. And there a few lessons that I would love to share, you know, to the younger generations, you know, and I feel that if I will be able to bring back the times and not be able to make this mistake, by meeting a mentor, then I could avoid a lot of this mistake. But sometime you’ve got to learn things the hard way. And so one of my passion is to be able to pass on, you know, what I’ve learned and be able to empower the next young generation of designers or entrepreneurs, from my lessons that I’ve learned so that they can avoid what I’ve been through. So it’s a, it’s, it’s something that I’ve, you know, very important to me on a personal level.

Granger Whitelaw: Oh, good. Yeah. I mean, I, you know, from a personal standpoint, I understand it’s, it’s a passion of mine as well, and it’s always great to be able to coach and mentor and help others. I don’t know if he can really get them not to make the same mistakes sometimes, especially with creative people, you know, they just have to do things their own way. Right? So,

Betty Tran: I mean, it’s, yeah. I mean, as you know, you know, the designer, I’m very creative and as you get into the business of fashion, it’s not about just creativity anymore. It is really about understanding the whole management. It’s really about understanding the business of fashion and treat it as a business. And so they are corporate structure. There are, you know, the, so many departments, you know, from marketing to product development to design and how they are, you know, connected together, the whole supply chains. And so these are the thing that I, you know, I found that is crucial to the success of a business. And so as a consulting standpoint, you know, that’s what we do is to giving them that knowledge and how to operate the company efficiently and, with, with a strong corporate structure that enabled them to expand in the future.

Granger Whitelaw: Sure, Absolutely. Yeah. Operational management and governance and, even just writing a business plan, right? And trying to figure out how to get your message out. That’s an important thing.

Betty Tran: Absolutely

Granger Whitelaw: Do you think there’s unique things to the fashion industry though? I mean, or what, what are those, what, what makes you the next Ralph Lauren or the next Donna Karan or, you know, what, what is the unique thing? Is it, is it doing the right fashion shows? Is it, you know, like looking at someone like Cong Tri, who’s a Vietnamese designer. Who’s now shown at fashion week and is getting, you know, huge applause worldwide. What is it that makes the difference, you know, for a fashion designer, like a musician writes a hit song or something, what is it, is it that one piece of clothing or is it really understanding how to build a business from the inside and how to grow it in inside this, this industry?

Betty Tran: Well, as you know, Granger, why do you wear clothes? Because you feel the way that it made you feel. And for me, fashion is more than clothing. It is, you know, a way of expressions. You know, it is people are desire, you know, it is their dreams. And so when you step into fashion is no longer about making piece of clothing is really about weaving the dreams for people, and what it means for people to be in that dream. So, I have a lot of respect for many designer from Donna Karan, too. You know, you say a local designer Cong Tri here. I mean, there are so much dedication from the designer to, to create clothing, as you can see, it’s a, their heart and their soul and their DNA to it. And every single time that you make a collection, it is like giving birth. And, and I I’ve been through that myself as a designer.

Betty Tran: And I know what I feel like, you know, you, you give a piece of yourself to the world. You want to share to the world, your creativity, your DNA, and your aesthetic. And I think that’s what powerful about fashion is always changing. You know, people are changing, the clothes are changing. You’re looking at, you know, the fashion back then when my mom was wearing, I was like, you know, it, its fascinating so much color in the, in the eighties. You can see that how clothes and society. I’ve been weaving together to show that, you know, how, how the world involving, and especially now you can see the way that Covid impacting our life. You know, everybody wearing masks, and masks become a part of the clothing. It’s shielding people, it’s protecting people – but more than that, it is make, it is the way that it makes you feel, empowered is the way that make you feel confident. And, and, and it’s a way to show who you are without saying a word about who you are. So for me, that’s what, that’s what fashion means for me.

Granger Whitelaw: Yeah. I mean, fashion certainly is a reflection of society. And if you look at the sixties, the seventies, the eighties, that’s really the fifties, right. It’s really clear. And the different fashion trends and the black leather jackets to the kind of hippie, free dressing to the bell bottoms, you know, there are always indicators and, and things that you can look back at fashion. And those are cyclical, right Like they come back around, you know, I think now with eighties and bell bottoms come back and, and designers today will look back at designers and trends from 20 years ago, and take indicators from them to design their new clothes. And, and I find that fascinating to see, and it’s cool. I mean, you know, there’s some great stuff that was designed back then when your mother was around, as you say, that you can incorporate lines and colors and different types of cuts in the designs today. So, yeah, that’s cool. And, and to answer the question, I think passion and hard work is what makes a great designer great and successful. Is that, is that, did I pick that up correctly and what you were saying, it’s a lot of dedication. It’s a lot of hard work and it’s passion and putting your heart out there.

Betty Tran: It looks glamorous and everybody wants to be in fashion, but as you can see, the industry itself eliminates, you know, people are in it for the, for the wrong reason because it’s extremely competitive. So, you know, it’s exciting because it’s always changing and I think you’ve gotta really have the thrill, you know, for change and willing to adapt to be in the fashion industry.

Granger Whitelaw: Sure. So our second interview on the par three series with Carey Zesiger, Carey is with Ha Vang, he has high end, brands like Furla here in, in Vietnam and Geox, and then he has lower end kind of Shooz , and discount – GoSumo is his discount e-commerce play. And he has hundreds of brands in there. So when Carey, you know, looks at a designer such as yourself, now he doesn’t sell dresses, but accessories and shoes, or it could be dresses. What kind of, what’s he really looking for? Other than the coolest thing Is he looking for support from you? Is he looking for the designers, support him in a certain way with advertising or with shows? What does a retailer like Carey look for?

Betty Tran: I cannot say for Carey, but, I will give us an attempt from my own opinion. You know, I mean, you gotta have to look in from a business standpoint, right? And, for me, you know, as an entrepreneur or as a fashion group, you’re going to have to constantly looking for what are the market looking for in Vietnam right now? As you can see, you know, in Paris or in Milan or New York, they are the trendsetter for fashion. And, most of the buyers are going to, you know, Europe and, New York, and now that we cannot travel anymore. So now the consumer’s looking for, you know, buying locally. So I, I believe that, you know, a fashion like, Carey would always be seeking a Brand that can speak to the Vietnamese consumer, you know, how can we bring a piece of the world to Vietnam

Betty Tran: And at the same time, you know, constantly looking for the segment of the market in Vietnam. there are, you know, a few years ago, I will say that, you know, the time when I was born, there’s a real difference between the upper class and the lower class, you know, which is a labor class. But now the world is changing and Vietnam are emerging to the rest of the world. And so there’s a new rise of the middle income earners who have an entrepreneurs who are self-made, and, you know, Vietnamese people are resilient, they are entrepreneurial. So, as the way that the society are progressing I’m sure Carey are constantly looking for different brands. So you have to have something quite high end, I mean, luxury brands – are luxury brands. They have been around for a long time with history and, you know, like Louis Vuitton, LVMH Group, or, you know, to, to Italian house like Ferragamo, or, you know, as you know, there are as few competitor out there in the market.

Betty Tran: So, you’ve got to have to be able to providing a different, product offering a different price point that speak to people. And, you know, and in the end of the day, we don’t buy a piece of a pairs of shoes or a piece of clothes we’re buying a dream because if we have that, we’ll be able to become , that dream. So, for me, you know, I think Carey, I hope I hope, and this is my message for Carey, that you will be able to also looking for the local talent designers. I know that there’s a lot of groups that acquiring group from oversea and bring brand from oversea, but that’s a new rise of designers in Vietnam that is really talented, who don’t have the business coaching just yet, or understand the corporate structure or understand the business side of the business of fashion.

Betty Tran: But if we be able to collaborate together, incubating the talents of Vietnam and teach them, teaching them, you know, the thing that we learn, you know, globally. I think Vietnam is so exciting. We can be able to bring this talent to the rest of the world, you know, and, and bring Vietnam and position it to be, to be a country, not only the, you know, being well known for manufacturing, but also a country of artisans and designers and originality. And that’s something that’s a part of my dream and what our consultancy companies doing at the moment as well. Yeah,

Granger Whitelaw: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, no, it, certainly I think that has happening, here, there, people are starting to notice, Vietnam and as a place for designers and film and, and, and as you and I have talked previously about the arts here and helping build the art community here and support the art community here. The, the more we can do that, the more opportunity to give them a platform here, they can kind of launch spring springboard or launch off of is really important. As you mentioned. Yeah. Yeah. So, so important. And, and that will happen, I think, more and more.

Granger Whitelaw: You know, so you talk about the young designers. It’s a, it’s a great segue into my next question. Really. I had some questions for you and, and one of them is based on a conversation I had with Carey, about fashion being, I’m sorry, retail being dead right, is retail dead?

Granger Whitelaw: And we both discussed, this is retail dead? It’s been said before, it’s now being said again. And my position is no, it’s not! No in a way is a dead. It shifts, it evolves, but people love to go shopping. In fashion retail, certainly people want to test out, try on the clothes, look at the materials, test the materials, feel things, see how they look in them. It’s a social thing to go out shopping as well. So I don’t think retails is dead at all. Although there’s some pressure on it all around the world. But is it a good time to be a new designer Is my question? Is this a good time to be a young designer with contraction in, in, fashion and shopping right now. There’s certainly in Australia and Paris , Mila and U S markets are down, has been down 80% this year at times. And certainly probably consistently at 50% or more, is this a good time to be a designer?

Betty Tran: You know, we live in a, in a strange world right now with so much uncertainty, but there’s always a need for more designers. But we don’t need more designers that trying to be other designers. We need more designer with originality. We need more designers that innovative, and we need more designers that wanted to give back and make a real difference for what they do. Because, you know, come back to the retail and as you mention, you know, I, I don’t believe that, at the end of retailing. I think that we live in a world where there’s demand for new technology, a demand for new innovation. It demands for breakthrough collaborations, and you can’t survive on your own anymore. If you just want to be the designer that stands by yourself and work by yourself. I think those era are gone.

Betty Tran: It’s really about collaboration. The designer have to collaborate with artists. They have to collaborate with talent to create innovative, different idea, different products, because it is competitive, but at the same time, as you can see that we are going through a new era of technology. And so, as you can see that we’ve covered what happened right now, you’ll see the new rise of designer that introduced the runway through the virtual reality. And you can see that they have to push themselves outside the box to reach to their customers. Because back in the day, you can travel. You can travel to Paris, you can travel to Milac, you can travel to New York and you can have your showroom there. So the buyer can come to the showroom and buying the product from you. But now’s a day you can’t travel anywhere. How do you reach you, your customers And that’s something that designers constantly have to stretch and mold themselves. And, and you cannot do it by yourself. So you have to collaborate with a tech company. You have to collaborate with other artists that continue to revamp your product. And so I will say that, we always need designers, but we don’t need a designer that is safe. We need a design or that breakthrough and, and creative. Yeah,

granger Whitelaw: Yeah. It certainly, you know, with, with runway shows, traditional travel and going shopping, if you’re a shopper and going to the fashion weeks, et cetera, that’s more difficult now, although they are continuing. But online with zoom meetings and things like that, certainly give people access to see designs and, and, but it’s not the same. That’s a pivot for the industry as a whole. But when you talk about technology also technology and clothing, right, I’ve seen, and have friends here who are, and have made coffee masks, coffee based shoes, right. And I say coffee, because that’s happening in Vietnam. Using, using that to make these clothing or, or hemp, right. Hemp for, clothing or different types of, I would call that technology, maybe I’m wrong. In, in products that are environmental. Do you, do you think environmental based products, do you think that’s a fashion trend we’re going to see continue is it a blip? What are your thoughts?

Betty Tran: I think sustainability will be a primary pillar of many fashion house moving forward in the future. If you understand that, you know, the current situation, the environmental impact of fast fashion, you know, we are the second most polluted industry now just after, after oil. And on an average, we wear an item of clothing just five times and would over three billion of clothing that go into the landscape every year. That is probably about 7,000 liter of water that needed to produce one pairs of jeans. I mean, it is alarming. If we don’t put sustainability as the central of integral part of our operation because. I just given you some fat and this is, it is scary. And if we don’t do something about, we may not have a planet, might not have a planet in the future.

Granger Whitelaw: I don’t think people even realize the impact that fashion has on the environment and pollution. It is massive. Like you said, it’s number one behind oil and gas, right? It is huge! Yeah. And so environmental products, I think the more we can move towards that and more, and better processes in making the fabrics. And this is something that, you know, Bill Watson, that we spoke about – making the products, in an environmental friendly, way, with more efficiency, is very important. For our environment and sustainability, but also I think in the clothes, right in the, in, what we make the clothes out of. I think people will attract to it. Although I always kind of hedge myself and say, yeah, you know, I could buy those shoes they’re made out of coffee, but boy, these are cool. And it makes me feel good. And like you said, before, we like to wear things that make us feel good or look good, right? So somewhere, you know, more creative designers, young designers that can come up with ways to use environmentally based products, but make them cool, make them sexy, make them aspirational. That to me would be a big home run.

Betty Tran: I’m totally on board with you on that. And you can see Vietnam. I mean the young kids, they are so creative, they’re innovative. And so the fact that, you know, we have choose brand that looking recycling the coffee waste, you know, and making shoes. I think that is incredible. And we need many more of that, you know, and that’s something that I, I felt that I can make a bigger difference through the consulting, is making sustainability as part of integral part of our education. Because you, you, you have to educate people about, you know, what gonna happen if we don’t taking action now. So, so, yeah, I hope that we will have many more designers, pioneering and championing sustainability. Although it’s still a very difficult challenge, you know, expect, you know, almost impossible to be sustainable when you do fashion because it’s involved with the whole supply change, but we should try.

Betty Tran: in every part that we can to reduce the waste, to, approach it from different angle and, and focus a little bit more on sustainability. I think it’s very important that we, you know, as a consumer need to be more mindful in the way that we consume our product and the designer, I need to be more mindful in the way they approach the product and the development of the product. Because it takes two ways, but the power is in the consumer. So we got to have to start asking questions, you know, like where this product I made? how’s it being made? Just very simple way of shifting our behavior toward consuming, you know, product that would more sustainable sustainability that, that stopped focusing on more helping brands that are focus around this topic of sustainability at the beginning. You know, that having that awareness is really, really important.

Granger Whitelaw: And you feel it’s driven from the consumer to a large power. If the consumer demands it, the designers will find a way to, to solve the demand.

Betty Tran: It started from us and all of us. And actually as a consumer, you have so much power to say. And so it will demand that designer to be more sustainable. If we are asking the right question, it works. If we consume the product would, would mindfulness. So, I think that’s where it began.

Granger Whitelaw: Well, let’s hope that happens. I would love to think that people can put, environment and, and mankind above, ego or, self-glorification but anyway, we’ll see, we’ll see. And certainly I think designers like you and people like you could help make a difference with these messages So I appreciate you sharing that.

Granger Whitelaw: Before we end today. you have an event coming up, in December, I think it’s December 2nd at the Mia hotel and it’s called Odyssey 2020. Is that correct?

Betty Tran: Yes.

Granger Whitelaw: Yeah. Tell us about that. Tell, tell us about that event. you know, certainly I think you’re going to have multiple designers in it, so it’s a collaborative kind of thing. And, and how can our listeners get involved if they want to be a part of it Yeah, I’ve read a little bit about it. It sounds super cool and I’m definitely going to help support it. So, but how can people listening be involved?

Betty Tran: thank you for mentioning Odyssey 2020. It’s a very core, exciting project that we have, on right now, but, you know, we we’re planning something that is, in the middle of uncertainty. So, I pray that, we’re not going to have the second wave I’ve Covid, otherwise, and I’m not this project will happen. But, we still have to be optimistic and, doing the work that we can. I mean, a couple of months ago, you know, getting together with Rad, CEO of Vina Capital a foundation. One of the, my line of work that I’ve been doing, even seeing Australia to working with the, mentoring in empowering the girls, especially the indigenous community and ever since my come back to Vietnam, that’s something of my interest. And, together we sit down, we decided what if we do a project that can hit on different angle from the charity point of view that we’ll be able to raise the funds towards the Brighter Path program – which is an education program to produce for the poverty of minority, groups of, of the community, you know, in Vietnam.

Betty Tran: So with that in mind, you know, I mean,

Granger Whitelaw: Brighter Path Is the charity. It was more on the Vina Capital charities that rad is, is the head of right. And you were on the board of brighter path, is that correct?

Betty Tran: Okay, let’s put it this way. Let me say that I’m the fundraiser, you know, somebody who will be in charge of, raising the fund and making the program happen, you know, for me title I think for me, title doesn’t mean so much as actually what you can do with it. So I, you know, I, I would like to say that is my role currently, voluntarily, you know, not, not, being paid or being part of, you know, it just, it just something that I feel really connected with. And I want to make a difference through what I do. And so we wanted to putting on, a, an event, a fashion and lifestyle event that will focus on, promoting number of talents of Vietnam, through music, through fashion, through food, through great entertainment. You know, we give people a great time at the same time, you know, raising the awareness about, you know, poverty in the minority, you know, group of Vietnam, and these woman that, we are empowering and we hope that will be a raise significant amount of fund to put or to the curriculum, program to support and, you know, and, and, and make a real difference.

Granger Whitelaw: Super. So it’s December 2nd, it’s at the Mia hotel, it’s a fashion show. It has great food music. It should be a phenomenal event. And if somebody wants to get involved, they contact you at Betty Tran Consutlants.

Betty Tran: Yeah. They can send me an email at, and, or they can reach out to Shaun at, There’s many way to get involved, or you can also contact VCF, Brighter Path on how you can get involved as well, or we need all different types of help, you know, on many different fronts from my end, it is the event that I’m taking care of. So, you know, it’s, it’s going to be a great event. And, you know, if not now, then when? you know, we were going to have to do something.

Granger Whitelaw: Absolutely. Well, it sounds fantastic. before we go, are there any last words that you would like to share about fashion in Vietnam or Southeast Asia? What you see coming up in the next five years?

Betty Tran: I would like to thank you Granger for this opportunity and allow me to be, you know, voicing my, my, opinion about the fashion industry, but most importantly, you know, he is to share my message, especially to the community or, you know, people in Vietnam, that we are living in very difficult times right now. But if we just keep having faith and we are seeking together, be kind to one another, I think we’ll get through this. Okay. yeah, I,

Granger Whitelaw: Amen!

Betty Tran: yeah, I’m grateful, you know, I’m, I’m grateful to be here and I just hope that, you know, because we’re living in fear right now, and I just hope that, you know, we have to look out for one another, and support each other even more than before. You know, human nature are not working together very well, but if we just, you know, take times and looking for each other needs and be there for each other, I think we’ll get through this. Okay.

Granger Whitelaw: Absolutely – Wise words, Betty – Wise words.

Granger Whitelaw: Well, thank you so much. I agree. I hope we cannot let fear prevail, — and have faith in God — and be kind to each other. Those are always great things, and those are smart things to do in business as well. So thank you so much for your time today. I wish you all the greatest success with your event and all the things you’re doing.

Betty Tran: Thank you, Granger. And it was honor and privilege to be amongst your series with Bill Watsons and Carey – And I look forward to catching up you guys very soon.

Granger Whitelaw: Absolutely. Thanks everybody for listening. This is Granger Whitelaw with the Lotus talks. I hope you have a wonderful week. Hopefully today you heard some, certainly inspirational words from Betty, that she shared with us, and learn some more about the fashion industry. I, I find it absolutely fascinating to listen to Betty. Thanks so much. See you soon – This is Granger Whitelaw.